News24 Wire
Wire Service
1 minute read
29 Feb 2020
11:30 am

Firefighters gear up for ‘difficult day’ battling huge blaze near Paarl amid heatwave

News24 Wire

A fire in the Du Toitskloof Pass area near Paarl has destroyed almost 6,000 hectares of mixed fynbos and continues to burn out of control, Cape Winelands District Municipality said on Saturday morning.

Picture for illustration. Screengrab from a Twitter video of a fire in the Du Toitskloof Pass outside Paarl burning out of control, 28 February 2020.

The inferno broke out on Tuesday and firefighting efforts are expected to be impacted by hot weather conditions and strong winds on Saturday.

“The very hot temperature of 40°C will make firefighting difficult, as the heat is conducive to the spread of the fire and increases the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion in the ground teams,” said municipal spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto.

“This is going to be a very difficult day and we urge all to keep everyone involved in their thoughts.”

Active firefighting continued throughout the night, with efforts hampered by strong winds.

“Despite this the firefighters did well to prevent the fire from damaging any structures, and no injuries have been reported,” said Otto.

Fresh crews from the municipality and affiliated partners were expected on the ground on Saturday morning, she added.

“Air support will be provided and the first helicopter has already started water bombing in the areas that are most threatening.

There are currently 70 ground team members, 18 fire vehicles, 40 firefighters and air support,” Otto said.

The Huguenot Tunnel remains closed to traffic until further notice.

To donate to the firefighters, contact Wendy Tawse of Cape Nature on 082 442 8005.

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